Misunderestimating the strategery
Dave Johnson has a good piece reminding us all of what led us to where we are today:
Remember what led to the sequester? There was a fundamental miscalculation that led to these terrible economy-killing cuts taking effect. White House negotiators believed the sequester cuts were so terrible and stupid that Republicans wouldn’t really let that happen. So they offered these cuts as an inducement — a worst alternative — to coming to an agreement about taxes and cuts. (Never mind the mistake that any deficit reduction at allright now is economy-killing.) The idea was that the sequester cuts are so terrible and have such a disastrous effect on the country and economy — and people — that “they wouldn’t really do that.” But they did that. Now many Republicans are celebrating the sequester cuts, calling the sequester an accomplishment.
I have copped to being one of those who thought the GOP would never allow the defense cuts to happen. I simply assumed they weren't going to be able to keep up their fake patriotic front and that the contractors would pull the plug. But it turns out they are determined to keep drowning the government in the bathtub even if they end up killing their own babies in the process.
And that's because they are getting rewarded. As Grover Norquist said:
"Sequester is the big win. It defines the decade."
That means a lot of things, including the fact that we have now officially adopted austerity as a policy. But it also means the Republicans believe they have a very sharp sword they can hold over the Democrats' heads. Norquist again:
Look, these were the guys who thought sequestration was a great win for them and who made 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent. The Bush tax cuts were an upper hand he could have used to control the country for years. If he would have extended it for a year we’d be talking about whether there should be a tax increase right now. You shouldn’t spend too much time thinking you’re dealing with political geniuses here.
That's how they think. Sequestration is to them what the Bush tax cuts would have been to the Democrats.
And it would appear that many Democrats haven't figured that out yet. At least if this quote from Sheldon Whitehouse is any example, not all of them have:
"The Republicans, and particularly the Tea Party Republicans, really burned their hands on this hot stove, and the idea that in January they're going to want to grab it again and burn themselves all over again doesn't seem very likely. I think they learned a lesson from the damage that they did to our country with this latest stunt."
Sure they have:
They're simply not working under the same assumptions as the rest of us.
A new Pew Research Center poll shows a majority of Republicans and many independents are just fine with the idea of not raising the debt limit by the Treasury Department’s deadline of Oct. 17.
There is a huge partisan split on this questions, with 37 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats in the new poll believing there would be an economic crisis.
I suppose if they do crash the world economy they might finally learn their lesson at long last. But when everyone understands that the full faith and credit of the United States is no longer operative, we're going to have bigger problems, aren't we?